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President Bush Addresses Future Farmers of America

Aired July 27, 2001 - 11:06   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN ANCHOR: In Washington now, to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across from the White House, where President Bush is speaking about trade to leaders from the Future Farmers of America organization.

Let's listen to what he's saying now.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... is American agriculture will not be viewed as a secondary issue for me.

There are a lot of folks out there who are somewhat skeptical when a U.S. president talks about trade in agriculture. You know why? Because agriculture has always been a secondary issue. They'll negotiate all the other important subjects, but when it comes to agriculture, they say we'll just leave it the way it is. We won't work to knock down the barriers that prevent U.S. products from going into other markets.

Those days are over with. Agriculture will be the cornerstone of our international trade negotiations, and we will use what's called single-undertaking negotiation to keep agriculture at the forefront of our negotiating policy. And the reason is simple: We're good at it. And we ought to work hard to promote products that we're good at growing or good at raising.

Another important part of making sure that your future is bright is that the education systems all around America work. One of the things I took great pride in in the state of Texas is an education reform package for all the people that go to school in Texas that said, we expect results.

I will tell you this, if you're in the agricultural sector, you're judged by results. You're judged by the size of the crop you grow. You're judged whether or not you can plow the straight line. You're judged by whether you're not any good. It's a results-oriented world, and that's what education ought to be as well.

And there's a fundamental reason why -- because we don't want anybody left behind, is why. And if you don't measure, how do you know whether somebody's being left behind? If you don't hold people accountable for results, how do you know whether or not some children cannot read or write and add and subtract? And I darn sure want to know.

Laura, my wife, the first lady, is having a seminar -- series of seminars about how to introduce the sound science of education into curriculum all around the country. It says, "Look, let's have common sense about our education curriculum. Let's make sure it works before we insist that we use it." And that's what we need to do in education, we need to have strong accountability.

Again, I want to thank the members of the Senate and the House who are here, who support an education package that's going to reform schools all around the country.

But make no mistake about it, I haven't forgotten where I came from. Inherent in the education reform package is a strong belief in local control of schools. I don't think the schools out to be run out of Washington. You know why? Because we're different. School districts in Texas were different, and they're a heck of a lot different, I can assure you from, you know, places like Vermont and New Hampshire. I mean, just a different world. And, therefore, we got to have strong local control of schools coupled with strong accountability to make sure our education systems work for everybody, urban and rural alike.

And finally, before I come out and shake a few hands, if you'd like to, I do want to remind you all that one of the things that makes this country so unique is our value system. The values of hard work, family, faith; values that sound pretty much like the heartland of America to me.

We're winding down the legislative session here. And I hope a week from tomorrow, the Congress takes off and gives all of us a break.

(LAUGHTER)

And I'm heading back to the heartland. I'm going back to Crawford, Texas, where Laura and I have got some property. A fellow runs some cows on our country. I love to go walking out there, seeing the cows. Occasionally they talk to me...

(LAUGHTER)

... being the good listener that I am.

(LAUGHTER)

But it's important for all of us in Washington to stay in touch with the values of the heartland, because they are values that really are unique. It basically says that values -- a value system of basic inherent values that override politics and different demographies and different religions is what makes America so unique and great.

I just come back from overseas. I was so proud to represent this great nation overseas, because we're a nation that can bring people from all walks of life together, a nation that says you're free to worship any religion you want, and yet, we're bound by common values. You should never be afraid of embracing the values you find in the heartland of America, the values you bring to Washington, D.C. You should never walk away from those; they're important. It's important to keep them as priorities in your life, because the strength of our nation exists in the value system that we oftentimes find on America's farms and ranches...

FRAZIER: President Bush addressing a group of young people there -- you could see from one shot, they are about high school age: the Future Farmers of America -- unprepared remarks there, from the sounds of it -- speaking about first some trade bills which would make conditions more favorable for the export of farm products, agriculture products -- then education reform -- speaking to them at Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington just across from the White House.

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